Israel's Arrow III Defense System Passes First Flight Test With Flying Colors

Defense Minister Ehud Barak calls test 'an important milestone for Israel's defensive array.'

Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen

Israel carried out a successful test of its upgraded Arrow III missile interceptor on Monday. Defense sources said it was the first flight test of the advanced interceptor.

The upgraded version should be more efficient than the presently operational Arrow weapons system at contending with future threats Israel will face, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The Arrow missile, which Israel is developing with the help of American funding, is designed to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles at altitudes high enough to allow for non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.

The test was a joint effort by the Israeli Defense Ministry and the U.S. Missile Defense Administration.

Its success, say sources at the Defense Ministry, is a milestone in Israel's ability to defend itself against anticipated future threats.

It bears noting however that this is the first test of the advanced interceptor, which is not expected to come online for at least three years.

Israel has been accelerating the development of the Arrow III, locally called "Reshef". Yair Haramati, manager of the"Homa" anti-ballistic administration at the Defense Ministry, says the system should defend Israel against Iranian missiles bearing warheads capable of mass destruction.

The main upgrade to the Arrow III compared with the one in use today is in the interceptor itself: It weighs less and can operate at longer ranges. The Defense Ministry notes that the Reshef can leave the atmosphere, where it can maneuver, effectively "chasing" the target.

Defense Ministry demonstration of successful Arrow III test flight.Credit: Defense Ministry

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